HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - This is the first year the "Red, White and Lights" event was held at Dorey Park. Officials say they were expecting about 10,000 people to show up. They were shocked when 20,000 came out for this year's festivities.
"We learned a lot of lessons going forward," said Henrico Recreation and Parks Director Neil Luther.
It was the third year for Henrico's Red White and Lights event, but instead of having it at Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park, organizers moved it to Dorey Park.
"You have a diversity within the audience. All ages and everyone is coming together to enjoy a concert under the stars, so to speak, and everyone coming out to watch," Luther said.
Organizers say they were excited to bring the event to the east end of the county.
"We knew traffic was going to be an issue. Traffic flow in that part of the community. It's rural roads," Luther said.
The event's Facebook page has been flooded with responses with people saying they were stuck in their cars for hours. Others say they couldn't even get into the event because it was packed.
"We know not everyone had an easy way into the park, and we actually had to close the park as the night went on because of the sheer volume of traffic," Luther said.
Luther says there were over 100 public safety workers making sure things went smoothly, but with the amount of people, it was hard to keep things running as planned.
"I will say I'm sorry. I certainly understand how frustrating it can be in traffic. Give us the opportunity next year to correct some of those mistakes," Luther said.
The event is scheduled for Dorey park again next year, and organizers are getting ready.
"We are going to look at how we can better control the flow and how we structure the event," Luther said.
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